It also came to us as a surprising news that Toyota has silently launched the new 4X4 automatic variant of its highly popular SUV, Fortuner. This variant was highly anticipated in our market as people wanted their favorite SUV to be available with both characteristics which makes it a more favorable choice. Now, it has been officially launched so it obviously becomes an additional choice for those who were earlier looking for other automatic 4X4 options. The pricing of Fortuner brings it between these rest of the options which includes Ssangyong Rexton, Hyundai Santa Fe and premium Audi Q3. Which one to go for? Let us take you through some facts in detail.
At first glance, Fortuner gives you an impression of being the largest SUV in this competition but look closely and you will find the truth. Actually, it is the Rexton which is the longest and widest SUV here. At 4755mm long and 1900mm wide, Rexton is 50mm longer and 60mm wider than Fortuner. It is probably the 1850mm height and 220mm ground clearance of Fortuner which adds to its muscular stance if compared to Rexton which has a height and ground clearance of 1785mm and 208mm respectively.
Measuring at 4385mm long and 1831mm wide, Q3 is the smallest SUV here in terms of size, however it is a well styled SUV that has the typical Audi styling details that we love. It also has the shortest wheelbase of 2603mm while Fortuner measures at 2750mm and Rexton enjoys the longest wheelbase of 2835mm thanks to its additional length. It is only the Fortuner which rides on 17-inch wheels as Rexton and Q3, both use 16-inch wheels. The new Santa Fe also looks big and it is well, big with a length of 4690mm but it its not an old school SUV shape like the Fortuner and has a crossover look with a height of 1690 mm.
The Fortuner is powered by a 3.0L diesel engine which has the highest cubic capacity while Rexton gets power from a 2.7L diesel engine and Q3 runs on a 2.0 TDI engine. The Rexton has a five-cylinder engine while Fortuner and Q3 have regular in-line 4-cylinder engines. With a power and torque output of 184bhp@4000rpm and 402Nm@3000rpm respectively, Rexton is a powerful SUV here but if we talk on paper, the new Santa Fe strikes back with 194 bhp 2.2L CRDi engine and 437 Nm of torque.
Then you have the Q3 which enjoys a power and torque output of 174bhp@4200rpm and 380Nm@1750rpm. The Fortuner with a power and torque output of 169bhp@3600rpm and 343Nm@1400rpm has got good grunt too. The Q3 has a 7-speed automatic transmission while Fortuner and Rexton are mated with 5-speed automatic gearboxes. The new Santa Fe has a 6-speed autobox. The compact dimensions and smaller engine size also helps Q3 to be the most fuel efficient 4X4 SUV here. It has an ARAI tested fuel efficiency of 15.7km/ltr while Fortuner, Rexton and Santa Fe stand with fuel efficiency figures of 11.5km/ltr, 11.8Km/ltr and 13.01 kmpl respectively.
All of these SUVs are packed with features such as automatic climate control, touchscreen audio system with rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, steering mounted controls, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, Cruise control, leather interiors, front dual airbags, electrically adjustable driver's seat and electric ORVMs. Apart from these, Rexton and Q3 also have electric sunroof and they both have additional two and four airbags respectively.
However Hyundai is famous for stuffing their cars with lots of features and their most premium product gets it all with push button Start and Stop for keyless entry/exit and ignition on/off, rear parking sensors with camera, auto folding outside mirrors plus a feature called Flex Steer which allows the driver to switch among 3 steering modes ——— Comfort, Normal and Sport depending on road conditions and driver preferences.
One big advantage that Fortuner, Santa Fe and Rexton have over Q3 is their availability with the third row as Q3 is only a five seater SUV. Despite this, Q3 offers excellent value for its money with its premium features and quality cabin with the Santa Fe coming in next followed by Fortuner and Rexton in terms of interior and features.
Price and Verdict
The latest entry top-end Fortuner is priced at INR 26.49lakhs while Rexton top spec with an automatic transmission will cost you around INR 22.09lakhs. The new Santa Fe will cost around Rs 28.4 lakh for the top-end while the Q3 is the most expensive SUV in this competition with a starting price of 30.46lakhs to Rs 38 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi).
Overall the Rexton ends up being the most affordable SUV which surely makes it a good deal for you but if your priority is good resale value, low maintenance and reliability then nothing beats the new Fortuner. It has become a household name in our market and enjoys complete monopoly in its segment because of its hassle free and comparatively low cost of ownership and now in 4X4 automatic avatar, it will broaden its appeal even more.
However both the Santa Fe and Q3 appeal more as a luxury SUV with decent off-road capability. These two are more towards city use with occasional off-road use and they deliver a more premium experience in comparison to the no-nonsense Fortuner. So in the end it boils down to what suits you the best!
Words- Nitesh Sharma